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Sun Desktop Virt Strategy Taking Shape

With all din over what The Big Three are up to with desktop virtualization and VDI, it's easy to miss out on what some of the other players are doing. Sun is a prime example. It just announced the availability of Sun Ray Software 5, which the company says enhances virtual desktops and helps increase data center efficiency.

Sun describes the new software as a secure, cost-effective solution that "delivers a rich, virtual Windows, Linux or Solaris operating system desktop to nearly any client device, including Windows PCs and Sun Ray clients."

As part of the Sun desktop virtualization portfolio, many of Sun Ray 5's features will also appear in the upcoming release of Sun VDI Software 3.1, which is designed to deploy server-hosted virtual desktops running inside virtual machines to a variety of client devices.

By way of comparison, Sun Ray Software 5 was created to 1) deploy Sun Ray software to Sun Ray thin clients or PC's in a more traditional server-based computing model, or 2) deploy Sun Ray Software in conjunction with VMware View Manager.

Sun gets the uber access thing that is rapidly becoming standard fare for virtual desktop vendors. The first example that comes to mind is Citrix's Flexcast delivery technology, which reportedly gives customers the flexibility to deliver any type of virtual desktop, to any user, on any device -- and to change this mix at any time.

Sun's answer for Sun Ray Software customers is Sun Desktop Access Client, which provides end users with the flexibility to utilize their existing Windows laptops or desktop PCs as an alternative to Sun Ray thin clients, and to access data and applications in a centralized, virtual desktop environment. With this software, Sun says "Customers now have a simplified, user-friendly means of accessing the Sun Ray infrastructure , which can help to extend the life of current PC assets and reduce the environmental impact of frequent desktop refreshes."

Despite the now hackneyed mantra of doing more with less, I get the impression that in the wake of the Vista flameout, and in the afterglow of the early positive buzz around Windows 7, many users are more eager to update their PCs than they have been in quite a while. Still, I guess, it's nice to know that there are other options besides wholesale capital investments when it comes to updated "PC assets."

Which would normally bring us to the soulless, utterly sanitized, and ultimately all-but-useless quote from a beta user. But in this case, since Sun didn't even bother to find anyone to "quote" other than an inhouse Oracle IT guy, I'm going to pass on the wooden prose.

Sun Ray Software 5 is available now for $100 per concurrent user for the perpetual license. It can be downloaded here.

Does Sun have what it takes to succeed in the desktop virtualization marketplace? Comment here or e-mail me.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/12/2009 at 12:48 PM


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